Beverly Hills 90210’s Biggest Off-Screen Controversies

  
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The ’90s’ biggest teen drama was definitely no stranger to off-screen drama as well. The kids (and adults playing kids) on the show were instantly thrust into teen-idol status, so there was a lot for their young (and not-so-young) minds to adapt to, in a short period of time. In fact, things were so crazy on set, especially in the early years, that Lifetime is shooting an unauthorized movie about the series’ first four years. Here are the 11 biggest controversies from Fox’s hit series.

11. Wait, they’re supposed to be teenagers?

Pretty early on, something seemed a little sketchy about the actors playing teenagers on Beverly Hills 90210. A lot of them just looked older than anyone you’d see in high school. And that’s because they were. When you looked at other shows with teens in the ’80s and early ’90s, they mostly looked their age. The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Family Ties. Well, actually, Michael J. Fox was older, but always looked young. But let’s take a look at the ages of 90210’s key players, circa 1991, when most of the characters would’ve been around 17. Jennie Garth: 19; Shannen Doherty: 20; Jason Priestley: 22; Luke Perry: 25; Ian Ziering: 27; Gabrielle Carteris: 30. Thirty? It was especially obvious with Ziering as Steve and Carteris as Andrea. It just looked wrong.

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10. The show’s handling of virginity

If you watched the show, you know there was more than one take on this subject: Donna Martin was notoriously the show’s long-time virgin, holding out until the time was right for her, long after her friends did the deed. But it’s rumored that it was her producer father’s idea for his darling daughter’s fictitious alter-ego to wait until after college. Then there was Brenda. Back in 1991, after Brenda lost her virginity to Dylan at age 16, Shannen Doherty (who, of course, played Brenda) herself told TV Guide she believed Brenda was too young to be having sex, and that she was concerned about being seen as a role model. It would be interesting to know if she caught any flak from producers for speaking out against the show – after all things soured pretty quickly for her both on and off-screen during her run on the series.

Everett Collection

Everett Collection

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